Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 12:15 am
By Lindsey Erdody 331-4368 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart named Bloomington’s deputy mayor. He sits in his Ivy Tech office in this file photo from last month. | Jeremy Hogan
Ivy Tech Community College Chancellor John Whikehart won’t even have one day off after he retires in January.
Whikehart is retiring from the college Jan. 15 after 12 years as chancellor and will be the city’s deputy mayor effective Jan. 16.
Mayor Mark Kruzan said having Whikehart as deputy mayor was something the two discussed for a few months, and it slowly became more of a possibility.
“I thought about what the primary need for the leadership team with the city is, and he is a perfect fit,” Kruzan said.
Whikehart said the conversations about him taking the position evolved over several months.
“I don’t know if I could pinpoint an exact moment for you of when we said, ‘Let’s do this,’” Whikehart said. “When he offered me the opportunity, I was excited to accept.”
Kruzan said they’ve known each other for years, and have worked together on several projects between the city and Ivy Tech, specifically keeping the John Waldron Arts Center open downtown.
“This announcement reflects the best of both worlds coming together,” Kruzan said. “The City of Bloomington has benefited from his leadership for years.”
Whikehart replaces former deputy mayor Maria Heslin, who left the city at the end of August.
Kruzan didn’t fill the position until 2014 to save money in a tight city operating budget, and said he’s eager to have a full staff again in his office.
There used to be five people in the mayor’s office, but that was cut to four and without a deputy mayor, there were three.
“It has been more difficult than I imagined,” Kruzan said. “I wanted to bring him on board as soon as I could get him.”
Whikehart’s salary will be $89,554.
Whikehart jokingly said he considered his wife’s priority list and Kruzan’s list and decided Kruzan’s was easier.
“The opportunity to continue to serve the Bloomington community is just one I didn’t want to pass up,” Whikehart said.
He said it certainly became more clear that he was interested in the job after officially notifying Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder Nov. 11 about his intention to retire.
Whikehart will remain involved with Ivy Tech, as “chancellor emeritus” and with fundraising efforts.
“I’ll stay involved in a voluntary capacity… I don’t think that’s unusual,” Whikehart said.
In addition to his career with Ivy Tech, Whikehart was director of staff for Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Frank O’Bannon, City of Kokomo Director of Personnel for eight years and director of comprehensive employment training act program in Monroe County.
Whikehart was serving on two city boards — the Utilities Service Board and Board of Public Safety — but he will step down from those roles due to the conflict of interest with his new position.
“That reflects the level of trust I’ve already been putting in him,” Kruzan said. “At the end of the day, he’s just a really good guy.”